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US, Japanese military chiefs assess Pyongyang's missile launches

WASHINGTON, May 26 (KUNA) -- US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin held Thursday "a secure call" with his Japan counterpart Kishi Nobuo "to share assessments on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) recent ballistic missile launches, as well as consult on response measures." The Pentagon said in a statement that the two leaders underscored that the North Korea's ballistic missile launches are "a threat to regional and global security, and committed to work together bilaterally and trilaterally with the Republic of Korea to address the DPRK's provocative actions." The statement added that Austin and Kishi "concurred on the need to continue discussions on response options and work toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula." Furthermore, Austin confirmed "the unshakeable US commitment to the defense of Japan" and they reaffirmed that the US-Japan Alliance is "prepared to respond to any DPRK aggression." This comes as Japanese and US forces have conducted a joint exercise involving eight fighters over the Sea of Japan, a day after North Korea launched three ballistic missiles, including an apparent intercontinental ballistic missile. (end) si.gb